If you ride a motorcycle on any semblance of a regular basis... you know you need to keep your head on a swivel. For the most part, as a rider, it isn't me I'm worried about as much as I have to be on a constant watch for the other guy. The simple fact is, most people just don't think about bikes on the road.  So as a rider, there are things I'm constantly aware of, and things I do, (and don't do) to help keep myself safe.

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First and foremost for any bike rider is visibility.  Ideally, you would do like they require riders on base do, and that's to wear a high-vis vest or clothing. But we don't always live in an ideal world. Another thing I'm constantly aware of is staying out of blind spots.  I never ride right next to another vehicle, or behind their direct line of sight... I try to make sure I'm always visible to other drivers, which means being in front, or in their mirrors.  One of my bikes has a modulating headlight, which flashes constantly from high beam to low beam as I'm driving.  These are now legal in all 50 states.

One of the most important safety features is the crash helmet.  I know this... I know they save lives... I know they are the law in Louisiana... but even still... there's nothing like the feeling of being on the bike with that wind blowing through you hair. Not an excuse... and if I go down, I am certainly going to be glad I have a helmet on.

Boxer Diego Corrales Dies In Accident In Las Vegas
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

If you look at the number of fatalities nationwide, the first stat that stands out is climate.  It stands to reason that southern states' fatality rates are going to be higher than colder, northern states because of the fact that there are more days in the year with weather conducive to riding. Climate isn't the only factor in determining fatality numbers, but a look at the top ten "most dangerous" states for motorcycle riders includes mostly southern, warmer climates.  According to QuoteWizard:

Key findings:

  • Mississippi, Texas and Arkansas have the highest rate of motorcycle fatalities

  • Motorcycle fatalities are up 11% since 2019 and 23% since 2010

  • Helmet usage declined from 71% to 68% nationwide

  • Alcohol was involved in 32% of fatalities



Mississippi- 62

Texas- 483

Arkansas- 80

Florida- 600

Louisiana- 78

South Carolina- 137

Tennessee- 151

Georgia- 192

North Carolina- 192

Kentucky- 92

Surprisingly, Lousiana ranks fairly well, 9th in fatalities, (as far as the top ten goes... we're still in the top 10) But we're not in the top ten of states with fatalities involving alchohol.

Bottom line, helmets save lives. An indisputable fact...  from quotewizard:

Recent studies show that wearing a DOT-approved helmet reduces the risk of head injury by 69% and the risk of death by 42%. Despite these facts, many states don’t require helmets, and helmet use has declined by four percentage points nationwide.


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